Gibson trying to go distance in his game

December, 15, 2011
12/15/11
11:52
AM CT
Greenberg By Jon Greenberg
ESPNChicago.com
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DEERFIELD, Ill. -- Taj Gibson made the first 3-pointer he took last season, chucking one in off a Tyson Chandler block with two seconds on the shot clock during a mid-October game at Dallas.

It was his first and only career 3-pointer.

Gibson went 1-for-8 from behind the arc during the regular season and missed one more in the playoffs, in a loss to Indiana.

[+] EnlargeTaj Gibson
Fernando Medina/Getty ImagesTaj Gibson connected on 1 of his 8 three-point attempts last season.
But, like Derrick Rose last year, the third-year forward said he’s trying to expand his game during a truncated training camp.

“I’m extending my range and starting to shoot a lot more threes now,” he said. “But it’s been a slow process. I hit a couple of those in practice, and the guys have been really getting behind me.”

Gibson was a major part of the Bulls’ 62-win season last year and served as an athletic counterpoint to Carlos Boozer’s earthbound attack, not to mention an able replacement when Boozer was injured.

The 26-year-old, 6-foot-9 power forward averaged 7.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 21.2 minutes per game last season. In 18 starts, those numbers increased to 10.6/7.3/1.8

When Tom Thibodeau held his one-on-one meetings with players after the season, he told Gibson he wanted him to work on both inside and outside moves.

“Thibs wanted me to get more familiar with playing with my back to the basket and just working on my jump shot, getting more consistent and more fluid,” Gibson said. “Thibs told me last year he liked the way my jump shot looked. He wanted me to get more familiar with it; instead of having that hitch, thinking about and being able to step in and shoot.”

If he can be a consistent shooting threat, it will help open the floor for Rose and Co.

He has work to do, though. According to 82games.com, Gibson posted a 35.5 effective field-goal percentage (FG + 0.5 * 3P) on jump shots. That didn’t stop him from shooting, as 57 percent of the shots he took last season were considered jumpers. He shot 61.6 percent on inside attempts.

Gibson said he’s been working with assistant coach Ed Pinckney on his shooting. Carlos Boozer is trying to toughen Gibson up in the post.

“I’ve been banging with Carlos all training camp,” Gibson said. “He doesn’t want to me sitting on the court or on the sideline. He wants me to get better and work out with him. It’ll pay dividends in the season.”

Jon Greenberg

Columnist, ESPNChicago.com
Jon Greenberg is a columnist for ESPNChicago.com. He has lived and worked in Chicago since 2003, and is a graduate of Ohio University and the University of Chicago.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Derrick Rose
PTS AST STL MIN
15.9 4.3 0.5 31.1
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Noah 11.3
AssistsJ. Noah 5.4
StealsJ. Butler 1.9
BlocksJ. Noah 1.5